Audrey Young’s take on why Bill English shanked the Greens twice

It might seem an odd thing for Bill English to relaunch an attack on the Green Party in the middle of negotiations between National and New Zealand First.

With only four days to go before Winston Peters’ self-imposed deadline to form the next government, every comment counts, every utterance means something.

It was a calculated move by English to put the boot into the Greens this morning, which he did during each of his four regular broadcast media slots on Newstalk ZB, TVNZ 1, Newshub and RNZ.

In each interview he compared New Zealand First favourably to the Greens saying the former knew how to exercise their power, unlike the Greens.

He was also at pains to point out that the Greens were not in the negotiating room with New Zealand First – Labour is having to run parallel negotiations with the Greens because Peters won’t deal with them.

We’ve always said this would be the case, and it is why we continue to have confidence that a Labour/Green/NZ First government will not happen.   If you know the deep loathing Winston has for the Green party, you would always have ruled it out.   

Peters needs the Greens in any deal with Labour but refuses to meet with them – either separately or together with Labour despite James Shaw extending an olive branch to Peters on election night.

But English’s main criticism of the Greens was the way it exercises its power.

It was not a last-minute bid by English to get the Greens to switch sides for a so-called “teal deal”.

It was a bid by English to talk up the power that the Greens hold in the hope that the party negotiators exert more pressure in their talks with Labour.

The more Green policy that Labour has to accept, the more attractive a National deal might be for New Zealand First.

Green Party leader James Shaw has been holding talks [yesterday] morning with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern at Parliament ahead of Labour’s talks with New Zealand First at midday.

As in any relationship, the secret to success is to make sure the other partner looks good.  For NZ First to come out of of the next three years in a way that sets them up for a return to government, it’s coalition partner has to make sure they allow NZ First to take a lot of credit.

Unlikely, right?  Which is once again why a full coalition with either side is not the best choice for NZ First, and why we are most likely to see a National minority government propped up with confidence and supply only.


– Audrey Young, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.